by Steph Tanguay
One thing is for sure, in the outdoor living world things are progressing nicely, as they have for the past 6 or 7 years. Landscape renovation projects have evolved tremendously. It’s not about simply building a deck or adding paver-stone patios and repaving the driveway and walkways.
The days of just having a green lawn cut with straight lines or on an angle like a ballpark or a garden with a few nice colorful flowers, are gone. No more lonely table and chairs sitting in the backyard migrating from corner to corner from where you last moved them when cutting the grass.
Today’s homeowner puts a new demand on the outdoor living market that calls for custom-built Outdoor Living spaces. It is now common place to be equipped with features such as ponds, kitchens, water features, lighting, music sound systems, weather proof TV’s, fire pits etc..
Swimming pools are transforming from standard shapes to pools with specialty elements such as cascading water features and infinity edges that fade seamlessly into the horizon. New projects are getting more and more personalized by their owners, reflecting their specific style, taste and how they want to experience their properties.
As custom designs are on the rise and we see the personalized preferences of the individual coming out more and more, the elements of inside and outside design amalgamate and the boundaries between the two start to disappear.
Throughout my years of creating Outdoor Living experiences for people of all walks of life, I have always tried to find out what feeling they wanted to experience while spending life’s most precious asset, their time, in their yard.
Things to Evaluate Before Creating Your Outdoor Living Space.
1-Where do you see yourself being most comfortable in your yard?
Think about sun exposure,shade, wind factors and privacy. Will the space be used all year round or is it seasonal?
2-Think about the views you will have from the new space. Also what will you see when looking into the area from the rest of your yard.
What will it look like from inside the house, both day and night?
3- What about furniture and accessories ? Will you have lounging areas? What style, color, and how much will you need? Think about pergolas and umbrellas. Do you need screened in areas?
4-Where will you cook and eat? Will you create an outdoor kitchen area? bar area? How much space will this area be and where is the best place for it relative to the rest of the area?
What utilities do you want for your Outdoor Kitchen? It can be as extensive as your indoor kitchen and if you like, it can have even more amenities.
5- What about Landscape Lighting? How much light do you need and what scene can be created with your Outdoor living area? What parts of the property do you want to highlight at night and think about safety and practicality.
6- Does your Outdoor Living Lifestyle allow for a pool,spa,hot tub, ponds, waterfalls, fountains? Or will some of these come at a later date?
7- Think about Outdoor Sound for music and even Outdoor TV’s are becoming popular in modern Outdoor Living rooms.
8- Is your Outdoor Living area going to have similar styles and themes as your indoors or will it be completely different? A mixture of both is sometimes a good way to go.What will the flooring be? Will there be play structures for kids or play areas for adults like putting surfaces, tennis courts, bocci ball etc….
9-Will there be expansive gardens? Will you want to or be able to maintain them? Or should you build low maintenance gardens? What soil type are you dealing with in your yard ? Do you need fences for privacy or safety? How about storage ? Where will you install your heat pumps and other equipment needed to run all this fun stuff? Do you need a place for pets to hang out?
10- Do you want to have a fire pit area or any other outdoor heating feature? How about an Outdoor shower?
Ultimately, outdoor living rooms, spaces and areas become an extension of people’s indoor lifestyle. Design, foundation, critical components, practicality, esthetics, and execution must come into play.
The key to success during a property transformation is to carefully add in your personal touch, the fine details that will make your Outdoor Living space the spot where you want to be because you have everything you need. A place to share time with family and friends.
Your Outdoor Living area has to encompass all the immediate needs and wishes while keeping in mind your long term plan so you can continue checking off elements on your wish list over time.